Empanadas – The Recipe

December 30, 2005 in Colombian Food, cooking, deep fry, Food Porn, How-2, latino, recipe

For a photographic tutorial on how to make these delicious empanadas visit this post “How to make Colombian Empanadas directions


Deep-fried meat pastries. These are served as appetizers because they will not keep their crispness for more than 1/2 hour. In other words, as you fry them, have someone serve them to your guests. As the guests bite into them, they may squirt lime juice into them from cut-up limes, or they may spoon “pique” (recipe follows) sauce into the bitten-off empanada. You may not want to “fill-up” the guests on these if you are planning on more food. Otherwise, if it is just an Empanada Party, make lots of them along with fried yuca and patacones, serve up with lots of cold beer, coke or margaritas!


  • 1 lb of lean pork meat (1 lb of dark turkey thigh meat, or a turkey roast that has mostly dark meat in it) two large red potatoes
  • two eggs
  • small onion
  • 2 cloves cut up garlic
  • Pinch of ground annatto seeds
  • bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ground comino
  • salt


Place meat , potatoes and eggs in enough water to cover them. Add the small cut up onion, garlic, a pinch of ground annatto seeds, bay leaf, cominos and salt. Bring to boil, then lower to simmer. In about 1/2 hour when the potatoes are tender and the eggs are hard boiled, remove them. Simmer the meat for at least another hour.

Remove meat and cool completely.

Preparation of the meat filling:

Grind the cooked meat in a food grinder, or in a food processor. Chop the potatoes and the eggs finely. Add the eggs and potatoes to the ground meat. Now you must prepare a spicy “hogao” sauce to add to the meat mixture.



  • 2 large tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 4 green onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tblsp of cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. ground comino
  • Pinch of ground annatto seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 3 tblsp of olive oil


Heat oil in a saucepan and add all of the ingredients. Cook over medium heat until everything is mushy. Add this “hogao” sauce to the meat mixture. You will need to add some broth left over from cooking the meat, in order to get the meat filling moist. You don’t want the filling to be dry.

Preparation of the corn dough:

2 cups of yellow “masa-harina” La Venezolana or ArepaHarina Colombiana corn meal (Latino Food Store) This is NOT the same masa-harina “Quaker” Mexican style! Salt to taste 3 cups of boiling water, plus a tablespoon of brown sugar. (broth is better but if you have run out, make a broth with chicken bullion cubes) Pour the boiling hot broth in a heat proof container, stirring constantly, slowly pour in the 2 cups of “ArepaHarina”, this will get pretty thick and hard to stir towards the end. Try to knead it as much as you can with the spoon, but eventually, as the dough cools, you can knead it with your hands. When the dough looks pretty smooth, about 5 minutes of kneading, cover it with a plastic or moist towel to keep it from drying out.

In a heavy deep frying pan, pour about 3 inches of oil. (If you were going to do this in Colombia, it would be LARD! ) Start heating the oil over medium/high heat.

Shape dough into the size of small golf balls. You can do this golf ball shaping ahead of time as long as you keep them covered.

How to make Empanadas:

See pictures.

Flatten a ball with a flat object such a a plate sprayed with Pam, also spray the surface underneath. Place a heaping tablespoon of meat filling on one hemisphere of the flattened dough. Fold the other half over and pinch together so that there is NO opening showing any filling. The trick here is to get as much meat mixture inside of minimum dough. This will take practice. Otherwise, your empanadas might have more dough to them than meat! Place carefully in the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on papers towels and serve immediately with lime quarters or “pique” sauce.


This sauce/relish is similar to “pico de gallo” except it does not include the minced jalapeno. If you want to use jalapeno, you can, but it’s not legitimate Colombian. As I said before, this relish is spooned into a bitten-off empanada. Yummmm!


  • 6 cleaned green onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of minced cilantro
  • 1 tsp of ground comino
  • 1/8 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of white vinegar
  • salt to taste


Finely mince the green onions and the garlic. Add the other ingredients and let marinate for at least 2 hours. There should be enough liquid to almost reach the top of the relish. You may have to adjust by adding a little more vinegar.

These preparations are “labor intensive”, so you must prepare some of them at least two days or more in advance of your party or freeze them. If you freeze the empanadas, keep them separate while freezing but let them thaw out 1/2 an hour before frying them.

Copyright 2005

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